Nikolai Vodolzov, Nik Systems, with the company’s CO2 heat pump. (Source: Nik Systems)
Nikolai Vodolzov, Nik Systems, with the company’s CO2 heat pump. (Source: Nik Systems)

HVAC&R Contractor Nik Systems Develops Commercial and Industrial Transcritical CO2 Heat Pump for Heating and Hot Water

According to Nikolai Vodolzov, the company’s founder, the heat pump can supply water temperatures up to 90°C.

Israel-based HVAC&R contractor Nik Systems has developed a CO2 (R744) heat pump that can provide space heating and hot water simultaneously, the company’s founder, Nikolai Vodolzov, told NaturalRefrigerants.com.

The unit is designed for various commercial and industrial applications, including hotels, hospitals, factories and shared buildings, he explained.

The heat pump has a heating capacity of 450kW (128TR) at an ambient temperature of 0°C (32°F) and can supply water temperatures up to 90°C (194°F). It can perform efficiently in a range of conditions, operating reliably in temperatures as low as −5°C (23°F), he added.

The unit is “currently the most economical among heat pumps,” thanks to its dual-circuit design, which consists of an open and closed circuit, he said.

“The combination of these two circuits for different needs [helps] raise the COP to a significant level,” he added.

The heat pump’s open circuit can take an inlet temperature of 10°C (50°F) and raise it to 45–50°C (113–122°F). This can then be heated further to produce hot water for domestic or commercial applications.

In the heat pump’s closed circuit, it can elevate water temperatures from 75°C (167°F) to 90°C, which is ideal for space heating applications like underfloor heating or radiators.

The heat pump includes components from numerous suppliers, including receivers from TECNAC, a heat exchanger from SWEP, Carel controls, Danfoss valves and compressors from Bock, which was acquired by Danfoss in 2023.

Economical efficiency

According to the manufacturer’s financial efficiency analysis, its CO2 heat pump is up to 14 times more economical than alternative heating systems.

It costs €0.09–0.12 ($0.10–0.13) to produce 1W of thermal energy using Nik System’s heat pump, Vodolzov explained. Comparatively, producing the same amount of thermal energy costs €1.30 ($1.41) with a diesel-based system, €0.87 ($0.94) with a gas-based system and €0.38 ($0.41) with a “normal” subcritical CO2 heat pump.

“Transcritical CO2 heat pumps are more efficient in terms of other systems of this type on the market, [with] the production of higher water temperatures [and being] more economical,” he said. “Standard subcritical heat pumps cannot answer most of the needs that exist in the market today, and [their] efficiency is very low.”

“Transcritical CO2 heat pumps are more efficient in terms of other systems of this type on the market, [with] the production of higher water temperatures [and being] more economical.”

Nikolai Vodolzov, Nik Systems

Vodolzov attributes the efficiency of the company’s heat pumps to several elements, in addition to the dual-circuit design. This includes the elimination of an expansion valve, which is traditionally placed at the entrance of the evaporator. Instead, the system uses fans and “other components” to regulate its operation based on ambient temperatures, he explained. This allows for a more dynamic response to changes in conditions, reducing energy consumption and optimizing system performance.

Growing demand

As of February 2024, the manufacturer had installed 50 of its CO2 heat pumps in Israel. The units are operating effectively and reliably in various locations, including places that experience summer and winter extremes, Vodolzov said.

NaturalRefrigerants.com has contacted Nik Systems for an update on its installations and additional information about the unit. The company has not yet commented.

The company is seeing a growing demand for its systems, including interest from European companies, he added. To meet this demand, Nik Systems is working to increase production. At present, the manufacturer is able to produce up to five systems per month.

“We are constantly looking for [opportunities to collaborate] with large companies to increase exposure [and market share],” he said.

Nik Systems has been working with transcritical CO2 for around seven years, with a focus on introducing the technology to Israel’s commercial and industrial refrigeration and air-conditioning sectors.

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